Soundlines of Contemporary Art
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“When I was asked to curate an artistic project with and for Armenians, I had to first find the connections between my country of origins and Armenia, a geographically small country. I admire the country’s current extraordinary technological potential, the innovative phenomena related to music and culture, the strong link to tradition and history, and the deep social commitment through the creation of philanthropic foundations and hospitals.
Looking to the past, as an Iranian-Kurd who comes from Kermanshah, I thought about the significant words of Darius I, known as Darius the Great (550 BC – 486 BC) of ancient Persia, and the images that were carved in bas-relief on the imposing mountain of Bisotun, 25 km from my city. The monument serves as the first evidence of a text translated into three languages: ancient Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian, in which the king mentions the ancient name of Armenia in the text. This led me to dream of a cultural exchange between different nations and countries that could be transformed into a dialogue through translation. The translation would not only be from text to text but also from text and image, since the bas-relief is entirely historiated. What is contemporary art if not a continuous game of translation between expressive media? Still, cultural exchange provides no benefit if it does not contain love and the desire to understand one other. The ancient legend of Mount Bisotun tells the love story of the Armenian princess Shirin, the sculptor Farhad, and King Khosro Parviz. The men represent two aspects of the creative force, which on the one hand leads to creativity (Farhad carves an entire side of the mountain to gain Shirin’s love) and on the other hand gives rise to power and lineage. Just like in many fairy tales, there are prophetic dreams and Khosro dreams of Shirin and music.
When Mount Bisotun is seen from outside of the city, it takes the form of a woman lying on her back; for this reason they call the Mount Bisotun Shirin khaftiah, which means Shirin is asleep in the local dialect. A beloved mountain just like the Mount Ararat, meaning the place created by God in Armenian. In the legend, the fertility goddess Anahit is captivated by the beauty of Mount Ararat. When the mountain ignores her, Anahit breaks into tears, which converge to create the beautiful Lake Anahit at the top of Mount Ararat.”